#HensonRidge Community Meeting De-breief

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A huge thank you to those who came out to voice your opinions at the Henson Ridge community meeting with Council Member Barry on Monday night at the Parklands Turner Library. An equal sized thank you to Reggie McComb for requesting the meeting from the council members office and seeing it through. There was a healthy dialogue about the concerns and issues residents (homeowners and renters alike) are facing. We left with a measurable action item list to hold the council member, and ourselves, accountable to.

Resident action items include:

  1. Developing committees for the following:
  • Communication – focused on doing more to keep residents informed.
  • Property Management – to interact with the current property manager and attempt to become more of an influencer in property management decisions.
  • Crime – to address issues we all share related to security of our neighborhood.
  • External community issues – to address things that affect the larger community but are not directly related to Henson Ridge.
  • Planning and logistics – to more effectively plan and implement community conversations and events.

The Council Members action items include:

  1. Follow up with the builder and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) to find out if there are grounds for repercussions due to sub-standard construction. During the meeting Council Member Barry said that DCRA was outsourcing inspections to third party contractors and if we (Henson Ridge residents) have similar issues with our homes, there may be some form of government assistance we can get due to items not being identified in inspections that otherwise would have been discovered. In the interim, the residents will do a survey and collect a list of the property problems we’re aware of.
  2. Get to the bottom of where we are in terms of percentage sold. This is important because once we reach a certain threshold, the home owners association must be turned over to the community and cease to be run by the developer. I dusted off my bylaws after the meeting and a few things related to this action item stood out to me:
  • Every owner of a lot is a member of the association (pg. 15). Meaning the developer will still have a vote on the board of directors because they own the elderly public housing, family public housing and family rental units.
  • The “Development Period” is defined on page 8 and is described as “the period commencing as of the date of this Declaration [October 24, 2002] and ending on the latter of: (i) substantial completion of the Development; or (ii) the earlier of (a) December 31, 2007, or (b) the date on which eighty-five percent (85%) of the Homeownership Townhouses are owned by Homeowners.” In the meeting the information we were given was: There are 600 total units built, 285 units sold, 280 rented units, with 35 units left to sell. By my calculation that would make us 89% sold.
  • The composition of the board is defined on page 17 and after the development period the board shall consist of 11 directors. Three (3) directors to represent the home owners, five (5) directors to represent the Rental I Declarant and the Rental II Declarant combined, one (1) director for Phase I renters, one (1) director for Phase II renters and one (1) director appointed by the Authority (meaning the DC Housing Authority). Each director shall serve a period of one year with unlimited right to be re-elected (pg. 18).

Residents also raised concerns related to the lack of communication coming from the property management office and the fact that there are no bike racks in the Giant shopping center. As I was live tweeting from the meeting, I connected with several Ward 7 residents that have successfully had bike racks installed (win for social media). More to follow on this but I believe we will be able to get bike racks installed in the near future. This one you can add to my accountability list.

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